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Brownstone, Umbra in license expansion deal

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, November 20, 2000

NEW YORK -Table linen manufacturer Brownstone has announced the expansion of its license with Umbra, a Toronto-based housewares manufacturer known for its sleek styling and coloring.

The licensing agreement began several months ago with Brownstone's "soft" kitchen collection of kitchen towels, oven mitts and potholders. And come February mini-market, the company will show the addition of a table linen line.

"Umbra really addresses a point of view not seen in the marketplace," said Jeffrey Beyda, president, Brownstone. "Its products have a European influence, organic looks and updated styling for younger consumers."

The kitchen textile group, already shipping, contains about 25 skus, and Beyda said the table linen group will have about double that. As with the housewares line, the monochromatic kitchen textiles have Umbra's distinctive edgy feel, including wave patterning in the terry towels, a playful puppet-like opening for the oven mitts and a mitten-shaped pocket on the square pot holders. Fabrics, such as terry cloth and heat-resistant metallics, are durable and versatile.

The table linen collection will have more latitude with the design direction since it has to tie in to dinnerware, Beyda said, though it will stay with the Umbra colors of titanium, wasabi, silver, black and others. A solid-color group of specially coated cotton cloths will be among the offering. Standalone place mats will be innovative, with such materials as frosted polypropylene and die-cut laminated wood.

The kitchen textiles collection retails from $5.99 to $7.99. The pricing for the table linen group is still undetermined.

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